If you want to see the current and future state of the Republican Party, you have to go back in time more than 30 years.
The announcement this morning that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) was resigning his position effective October 30 is a victory for ultra-conservatives. Boehner is plenty conservative, but these days there’s a litmus test when it comes to GOP candidates. It boils down to this: Are you conservative enough? It’s like a never-ending competition.
If you’re willing to mutter or even think about using the word “compromise” these days, you’re not conservative enough. These days, that means an eventual end to your career as a Republican lawmaker. Utah Sen. Mike Lee was voted into office through that mindset. So was Utah Rep. Mia Love.
Staunch conservative Bob Bennett didn’t even make it out of caucusing onto the primary ballot in 2010 to keep his Senate seat from Utah, won by Lee. Bennett finished third to two Tea Party-backed candidates in that year’s state Republican convention — a senator with high ratings from groups such as the National Rifle Association and the American Conservative Union who wasn’t considered conservative enough. Sit back and let that sink in for a minute.
Boehner is just the latest in the wave of not-conservative-enough chess pieces that have been knocked off the board.
It shows a trend that’s growing, and it’s powered by the Tea Party, which is powered by the likes of the Koch brothers.
I’ve seen the likes of this before, and it’s sickening.
It takes me back to the days of my youth, living in the beautiful and ultra-conservative area of central Idaho. My grandmother was liberal in the love she offered those closest to her, a genuine sweetheart. She was conservative in her politics.
She used to get all kinds of junk mail from politicians representing her. After she’d open it up, I couldn’t help but look through the correspondence from time to time. Some of it was enough to scare the crap out of anyone — telling how we’d be doomed if we followed the liberal agenda.
After working through the initial shock and fear portrayed in the mail, more often than not I’d shake my head and hope that my sweet grandmother wasn’t sending too much of her hard-earned money to support these crackpots like they wanted.
George V. Hansen was probably the biggest offender.
Hansen was the picture of the Idaho conservative’s conservative. He represented the state’s 2nd District in the U.S. House from 1965-69 and from 1975-85. He had a crew cut that screamed “conservative” before going to more of a “hippie look” for him that allowed some hair to perhaps touch his ears.
He was a leader in the fight against the Internal Revenue Service, writing a book in 1980 called To Harass Our People: The IRS and Government Abuse of Power. He was a showboat, making sure cameras were there when he went to Tehran in 1979 in the middle of the Iran hostage crisis to try to negotiate with captors of American hostages through the fence of the U.S. Embassy.
He had his share of run-ins with the IRS, spent some time in prison which brought allegations of torture while he was behind bars. Once his days in politics were over, he was convicted in 1993 of 45 counts of bank fraud for a multimillion-dollar check-kiting scheme.
He died in 2014. His style of paranoid, one-world government-screeching, “make the people fear the liberal monster” politics lives on. It’s become the majority of the Republican Party. The late George V. Hansen is the current and future face of the GOP the way things are going.
If further proof is needed, John Boehner’s resignation provides it.
You really need to see more of George V. Hansen to understand just how sickening a thought that is.